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Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, has grown in popularity recently and
with that rise in popularity has come a number of common misconceptions and
confusion. Global Value Conncet (
) has complied this simple guide to address some of these most common questions
What is VoIP and what does it stand for?
How do I make a VoIP phone call?
What equipment do I need for VoIP phone calls?
Are there any differences between making a local call or a long distance
Who can I call if I am using a VoIP service?
Are there any advantages in using VoIP phone service?
Will I be able to dial 911 emergency services?
Will I be able to use my computer while making a VoIP phone call?
Will I be able to take my phone adapter with me while traveling?
Does my computer need to be running in order to use VoIP service?
How will I know when I receive a phone call over my VoIP service?
Who regulates VoIP services?
What are the computer system requirements for VoIP?
Are free trials normally available?
How can I improve the sound quality?
1. What is VoIP and what does it stand for?
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and it allows you to place telephone
calls over a data network like the internet. It operates by converting your
voice signal from your telephone into a digital signal that can then be
transmitted over the Internet. The digital signal is then converted at the
other end back to a voice signal that the other party can hear. When you
use a phone with an adapter the calls are placed just like a regular telephone.
You first hear a dial tone then the call is made. You are also able to place
a call directly from your computer using a conventional telephone or microphone.
2. How do I make a VoIP phone call?
Making a VoIP phone call is no different from using a regular land line
telephone. You pickup the receiver and listen for the dial tone. You can
then dial your number as you always have in the past. The call connects to
your high-speed Internet connection and travels to your local telephone company's
equipment to a VoIP provider which transport the signal through the Internet
to the local provider of the party you are calling. They relay the signal
to your parties telephone. As an alternative, you may also place the call
using your computer's hardware and software, entering the number through
your keyboard. The signal is then sent through your cable modem to your local
3. What equipment do I need for VoIP phone calls?
Your existing incoming high-speed Internet connection should be sufficient
but the higher the connectivity the better the signal.
In terms of hardware, you can hook up an inexpensive microphone to your computer
or connect a phone directly to a VoIP telephone adaptor (ATA). Or you can
use a phone specially made to work with Internet Voice. This is called an
SIP Phone. Each SIP phone is a network endpoint, and voice is routed via
its IP address. It allows a DID (direct inward dialing) number to move with
a user. You can move, add or remove stations and never have to call your
interconnect/PBX service company. SIP phones also allow full use of advanced
features like voice mail to e-mail and auto attendant.
4. Are there any differences between making a local call or a long distance
There are many different calling available for VoIP. The calling rates and
fixed plans will vary from one vendor to another depending on the service
you select. Please make sure to read all of the fine print associated with
any plan that you choose.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that VoIP can blur the difference
between local and long distance by issuing a local number for your Internet
phone. This allows you to make LOCAL calls to your home area code from that
phone, regardless of where you are geographically. All you need is an Internet
connection to plug in your phone, it doesn't matter what Internet provider
you use, and you can call your local area code from anywhere in the world
without paying long distance rates.
5. Who can I call if I am using a VoIP service?
Your calls can be made to any local telephone number, mobile phone, long
distance number, or any international number. You may even use the service
to speak with more than one person at a time. More importantly, the person
you are calling does not need any special equipment; just a regular telephone.
6. Are there any advantages in using VoIP phone service?
If you are using a broadband internet connection, you don't need to maintain
and pay the additional cost for a regular land line just to make telephone
calls. With VoIP you're able to talk to many people at the same time. You
can set up conference calls with your colleagues, staff, family and friends.
VoIP allows you to reduce interconnect/PBX fees by enabling you to add, move
and remove stations from your network without calling your service provider.
In addition, you don't have to buy an expensive phone switch to set up your
network. VoIP also offers many advanced calling features from caller ID and
call forward to voicemail and distinctive ringing to call tracing and reminder
calls, among many others. You can also manage your features through the Internet;
log-in and customize services that normally you would have to rely on your
provider to change - for a fee of course. Voice over Internet can lower
long-distance fees by assigning a local telephone number to your VoIP phone.
You will then be able to take your phone anywhere in the world, plug it into
any broadband connection regardless of specific provider, and you can make
LOCAL calls to your home area code. Parents can keep in touch with children
at college; churches can contact missionaries all over the world; and businesses
can connect branch offices in different cities.
7. Will I be able to dial 911 emergency services?
Some Internet Voice services have difficulty seamlessly connecting with the
911 dispatch center or identifying the location of Internet Voice 911 callers.
Check with your local VoIP provider to determine if they can provide this
service in your area.
8. Will I be able to use my computer while making a VoIP phone call?
Yes you most certainly will be able to use your computer while making calls
on your VoIP network.
9. Will I be able to take my phone adapter with me while traveling?
You should be able to use your VoIP service wherever you travel as long as
you have a high-speed Internet connection available. Your adaptor should
work the same as when you are at home or in the office as long as you have
access to a high-speed Internet connection.
10. Does my computer need to be running in order to use VoIP service?
Your computer does not need to be turned on but your broadband connection
must be active in order for VoIP to functionproperly. However, if you are
not using an adapter and choose to use a microphone or headset with your
computer then your computer must be on.
11. How will I know when I receive a phone call over my VoIP service?
Your VoIP phone will ring like any other telephone.
12. Who regulates VoIP services?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has worked to create an environment
promoting competition and innovation tobenefit consumers. Historically, the
FCC has not regulated the Internet or the services provided over it. On February
12, 2004, the FCC found that an entirely Internet-based VoIP service was
an unregulated information service. On the same day, the FCC began a broader
proceeding to examine what its role should be in this new environment of
increased consumer choice and what it can best do to meet its role of
safeguarding the public interest. In November 2004 they ruled that States
do not have the jurisdiction to impose taxes on VoIP services, another victory
for the consumer.
13. What are the computer system requirements for VoIP?
The specific requirements of any VoIP system must be checked with each individual
14. Are free trials normally available?
You need to check with your selected VoIP provider to determine if a free
trial is available. Most VoIP providers will provide some kind of free trial
or conditional free trial period. If you are dissatisfied for any reason
you should return the equipment in their original packing boxes together
with all shipping paperwork and packing slips to ensure they will honor their
14. Will I be able to use VoIP behind a firewall?
You need to ask your network administrator regarding any special setting
that are required to function through the firewall.
15. How can I improve the sound quality?
Speak with a headset instead of a microphone. Better still, use a phone with
If you are using a microphone, hold it away from the speakers to avoid having
the sound from your speakers recirculate into your microphone causing feedback.
Lower the volume on your speakers.
Check with your sound card manufacturer to be sure you are using the latest
Use a direct phone jack. A split line or extension cord between your phone
jack and computer can distort the sound causing an echo.
Global Value Conncet (
) offers a wide range of VoIP products and services from the most reliable
vendors at the most competitive prices. If you are in the market for VoIP
services or curious as to what it may cost or how you may benefit then stop
in and check out our products and services at:
Copyright 2004 Raymond Klesc
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About The Author
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